When Oklahoma lost on the road to Kansas State on Saturday, it marked the third straight Saturday that a top-five team fell to an unranked opponent. Georgia kicked off the trend by losing to South Carolina in double-overtime. Then, last week, Wisconsin went on the road and lost on a walk-off field goal to Illinois. It's the kind of chaos all college football fans have come to expect. While the entire world tends to forget it's going to happen, it always does. This year it's happening right on time because we're preparing to flip the college football calendar from October to November, which means one thing and one thing only.

Welcome to Debate Season.

I'm not talking about the debates for the Democratic nomination, though much like those, there have been too many people on stage the last couple months. But the coming weeks will have a way of carving that number down. No, the debate I'm talking about is the one that has dominated college football discussion for six seasons now: The Great Playoff Debate. Who deserves to be in? Who should be left out in the cold? Is it time to expand?

There are answers to each of those questions right now: Don't know, don't know, and nope. Still, just because we have answers, doesn't mean we won't spend hours upon hours debating them anyway. We'll discuss it with fellow college football fans, co-workers, loved ones, and those poor strangers on the street who are just trying to walk their dog.

With so many top teams on a bye this week, and Clemson playing Wofford, it's likely that when the College Football Playoff Selection Committee puts out its first set of rankings on Nov. 5, the top three will be Alabama, LSU and Ohio State in some order. The focus will be on that fourth team. What makes debate season so enticing is that it's nearly impossible to be wrong. When it comes to deciding who should be No. 4, you can pick apart every single applicant. And we will. On Saturday night in the CBS Sports college football Slack, a simple question popped up from colleague Ben Kercheval. Between Clemson and Penn State, which would you rank higher right now? In my mind, the obvious answer was Clemson. It's the defending national champion and has outscored opponents by an average of 32.3 points per game. 

It seems obvious, right? Well, it's not. Penn State is also 8-0, and though it's not the defending national champ, it has outscored its opponents by 28.9 points per game. That's not as wide a margin as Clemson's, but Penn State has wins over two teams currently ranked in the top 20 (Michigan and Iowa). Clemson's best win is a 5-3 Texas A&M team residing in the land of Others Receiving Votes. Now, I'd still pick Clemson ahead of Penn State (as did both major polls), but this is what lies at the heart of debate season. Should we trust our eyes or look at the resumes?

There is no correct answer, there is no wrong answer. There are only answers. Lots and lots of answers. The problem isn't that there aren't answers; it's that there are too many questions. Oklahoma's loss to Kansas State only added more to the discussion.

The good news is, like the teams themselves, those questions will dwindle in the coming weeks. Georgia and Florida play on Saturday, and the loser will be out of the discussion. Penn State plays Minnesota -- the Gophers are a question! -- in two weeks. Penn State still has to play Ohio State as well. Oregon and Utah could be on a collision course in the Pac-12. Oklahoma and Baylor must play at least once (the final month of the Big 12 schedule was excellently designed). Then there's the looming battle between No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama. That game will likely result in both answers and more questions. I'm telling you right now that, if it's close, the "isn't a one-loss Alabama/LSU more deserving of a bid than the Big 12/Pac-12 champ" debate will rage for weeks. Or at least until the loser loses again, or somebody else loses again.

That's the beauty of Debate Season. Generally, it's all settled on the field. Only four teams make the official College Football Playoff, but the playoff itself begins in earnest now. Nearly every game the 12 (realistic) teams or so that fancy themselves playoff contenders play from here out is a playoff game. A loss will either eliminate you from the conversation or give the debaters ammunition to use against you. Each game will add to the debate, and in the end, four teams will remain. They'll likely be the only four obvious candidates, and we'll quickly realize that the real playoff was debates we had along the way.

Touchdown of the Week

Tylan Wallace, my goodness. This touchdown helped Oklahoma State topple Iowa State, 34-27. Fun (or not-so-fun depending on your perspective) fact: With this win, Oklahoma State improved to 6-3 against teams ranked in the AP Top 25 poll since the start of last season. The Cowboys are 4-6 against unranked FBS teams in that same time frame.

Punt of the Week

Illinois punter Blake Hayes is a product of The Australian Industrial Punter Complex, and has been one of the best punters in the country for a few years now. He's done so mostly in anonymity because he plays for Illinois. Well, after that punt, the entire world will know his name.

Oh, and I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that Illinois' win over Purdue also produced this beauty of a different variety.

Bone to Pick of the Week

On Saturday night in the midwestern version of a monsoon, Michigan beat Notre Dame 45-14. It was a total and epic beatdown. While the conditions certainly affected how both teams performed, in the end, Michigan not only outscored Notre Dame by 31 points but dominated in the box score as well. Michigan had more passing yards in the rain (134) than Notre Dame had total (133). The Wolverines nearly doubled-up the Irish in first downs (23 to 12) and more than doubled-up on them in yards per play (6.2 to 3.0).

It was precisely the kind of win Jim Harbaugh and Michigan needed. The sort of win fans and the media say that Harbaugh hasn't had enough of at Michigan. Not only beating a good team but dominating them. Perhaps that's why I was so disappointed to hear what Kirk Herbstreit had to say about the game as he was calling it.

While calling the game for ABC, Herbstreit said he was "floored" by Notre Dame's performance, calling it a "complete no-show."

"This is the performance they put on on this stage," he said. "They didn't show up. Embarrassing performance by Notre Dame."

Herbie is one of the best analysts in the game, and one of my favorites, but this comment -- and comments like them -- drive me up a wall. Notre Dame didn't "no-show." Notre Dame just got beat, resoundingly.

Am I supposed to believe that a Notre Dame team coming off a bye, having seen its playoff hopes increase earlier in the day with Oklahoma's loss, and in Ann Arbor to play one of its biggest rivals, wasn't up for playing in this game? That it "no-showed?"

If two top UFC fighters step into the Octagon for a major fight, and one of them knocks the other out early in the first round, did the losing fighter not show up, or did he just get knocked out? Because what I saw on Saturday night was Michigan knocking Notre Dame out. Sure, Notre Dame looked like it had given up in the second half as the deficit grew larger, the rain wetter, and the air colder. There's no denying that, but let's not pretend Michigan didn't do everything it could to facilitate all of it.

This seems to be a theme with Harbaugh's Michigan teams. When Michigan lost a close game on the road against No. 5 Penn State last week, it was "Harbaugh loses to another ranked team on the road." When Michigan beats a top 10 team by 31 this week, the top 10 team "didn't show up."

Spot of the Week

I have no idea what led to this situation, but I don't want to know. I just want to marvel at the beauty of it all. Not only has Miami scored a touchdown before snapping the ball, but it appears Pitt is offside as well. And none of the officials seem to notice. This might be the most ACC thing that has ever happened on a football field. It's a visual encapsulation of the ACC Coastal.

Stat of the Week

Northwestern was shut out by No. 19 Iowa 20-0 on Saturday. Amazingly, it was the first time Northwestern has been shutout this season, though it felt like the 50th. Anyway, the shutout loss means Northwestern has only managed to score 75 points through seven games this season, or 10.7 points per game. No team in the country is scoring fewer points per game this season. That's not the Stat of the Week, though. This is:

Here's a list of teams who have scored more than 75 points in a single game during the 2019 season.



Points Scored




Penn State




Texas Southern





Ohio State

Miami (OH)



All of them


Bad Idea of the Week

If you don't understand what's happening in the video, let me set the scene. Kansas had set up for a 40-yard field goal attempt that would win the game. Texas Tech blocked the kick, and Douglas Coleman scooped it up, ready to become a hero and return it for the game-winning score. Only Douglas quickly realized he wasn't going to score and had another idea.

He decided to lateral the ball to a teammate in hopes that teammate would then be able to score. Instead, Douglas lateraled to, well, nowhere. Kansas jumped on the ball with time remaining and got another shot to win the game. This time Liam Jones' 32-yard field goal attempt was not blocked, and Kansas won.

Moments like these happen in roughly one percent of all college football games played ... unless Les Miles is coaching one of the teams. When Les Miles is coaching a team, at least 20 percent of all games feature an ending like this.

Tom Fornelli Team of the Year Dropouts of the Week

Beginning in 2019, The Tom Fornelli Team of the Year Award, presented by The Tom Fornelli Foundation For Football Exceptionalism, is to be given out to one incredible football team that best displays the values of The Tom Fornelli Foundation For Football Exceptionalism. Every week, teams will be eliminated from the running for reasons. Those reasons are at the sole discretion of Tom Fornelli and The Tom Fornelli Foundation For Football Exceptionalism, which is comprised of Tom Fornelli and nobody else. Here are the teams eliminated from consideration in Week 6.


Reason Eliminated

Arizona State

It's like you're allergic to being ranked.


Tack this onto your resume of tough losses.

Ball State

As soon as I start saying you might be the best team in the MAC, you lose at home by 13.

New Mexico State

I don't know how you lasted this long. It's like I didn't see you hiding in a corner.

North Texas

The Green ain't so Mean.

Notre Dame

Rain seems to be Brian Kelly's kryptonite.


Think of all the parlays you killed.

Texas State

You're headed the right direction, but you're not there yet.


I love you, but upon closer examination, your wins no longer look very impressive.


Had you pulled off the SDSU upset you'd have hung around at least another week.

Utah State

I appreciated the candy hearts, but it's time.

Teams remaining: 37 / 130
Teams eliminated last week: Charlotte, Colorado, Florida Atlantic, Kentucky, New Mexico, NC State, Northern Illinois, Oklahoma State, Rice, South Alabama, Texas A&M, Wisconsin

For a full list of eliminated teams and the respective reasons, click here.

Quote of the Week

Imagine how smart you'd think your college roommate was if they had said this after taking a huge rip from a bong.

College Football Playoff Projection of the Week

  1. LSU
  2. Ohio State
  3. Alabama
  4. Clemson

Until the next Monday After!